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It’s a thrill to welcome Vicki Mothes to MDK. One of the pioneering knitbloggers (class of 2004), Vicki’s blog Knitorious continues to this day as a vibrant chronicle of a full and joyful artistic life. Her most recent art project, now in its tenth year: grandmothering! 

—Ann & Kay

Seeing how one of my handknits gets passed down from one grandchild to another is one of my favorite things about knitting. I have four grandchildren who are siblings, so when I decided to make a new sweater for them, I knew a couple things right off the bat: it would be a good hand-me-down in at least two colors—probably more.

I also wanted the kids to have some input, so I asked the three eldest about their favorite colors. Junah, who is 9, loved orange. Ginny, 6, really likes pink … or blue … or purple! And Malina, 4, likes red. (Davy’s only 2.5 and currently has no discernible opinion.)

The pattern I chose was Holli Yeoh’s 5 Point Bomber by Holli Yeoh because it’s bold, it has pockets, and because other makers had a lot of good things to say about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Click over to these inspirational FOs to see how versatile this pattern is!)

Crayon Box

I was inspired by all the Atlas colors! I knew for sure that the two main colors would be Navy Blue and Clementine, but I saw the design as a canvas for (more!) stripes or graphics, so I ordered up a “crayon box” of extra hues to play with! In addition to the main colors, I used Barn Red, Lapis, Citron, Mallard, Seaglass, Tutu, and Pear.

I contacted Holli and told her of my idea, and asked if she would share a working sketch that might help me visualize. She not only shared her sketches, she also had the brilliant suggestion that they be used as a coloring book. She said, “You could even get your grandkids to color them as a fun exercise.” Inspiration, indeed!

I made copies and pulled colored pencils that most closely matched the colors of Atlas that I’d chosen, and let the kids have at it! Though blue took a back seat in their interpretations, their creations were phenomenal, and I incorporated at least one element from each of their drawings into my working design.

Malina colored the cuff of one sleeve bright blue on the front and pink on the back. That bright blue cuff just had to be incorporated!

The idea of the front and back being a different color was consistent in all their designs. Junah even imagined that I’d knit intarsia, with the left and right sides of the front/back in different colors. I used that idea for the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater, using Barn Red on the front and Pear on the back with a stripe of Navy Blue in the middle, reminiscent of a high school letter jacket, and to tie the pieces together.

Holli’s original design had narrow stripes on the lower left sleeve, and Ginny duplicated the stripes on the right sleeve in her design—she was the only one to add a totally new element! I always intended for the stripes to be more colorful than the original and used Ginny’s idea to add some, but I moved them to the upper right arm and changed the number and width of them ever so slightly compared to those on the left.

I enjoyed coming up with the stripe sequences and added a little whimsy to the insides of the pockets, too. The pocket and collar details were well written and fun to knit!

Atlas knit like a dream and blocked even dreamier! I’m looking forward to knitting up some hats and mittens with the leftovers!

Make it with Atlas

Tuck it away!

Here’s how to save this article in your MDK account with one click.

About The Author

Vicki Mothes lives in Northeast Wisconsin with her husband. She is the lucky mother of three grown daughters, and grandmother of four who delights in seeing her handknits show up every couple of years on another wearer! She blogs here.


  • What a wonderful idea to engage and involve the children so much.

    • That’s darling and so are the kids! I love the creativity of this project.

  • Oh Vicki! You already know how much I love this Bomber – fabulous job (and FAST!!) Love that the kids had input too.

  • What a wonderful project!

  • Fantastic sweater for your little darlings.

  • Well that pattern went into my library PDQ! I have a sweater’s worth of Jill Draper that will be perfect, including some bright mini skeins.

  • Loved the ideas! Loved the colors! Loved the kids!

    • Agree with all of this!

      • I love the result with Input from all the kids. What a creative bunch. Result is awesome

  • Thank you for this fantastic project…and in Atlas too!

  • Great article and very good suggestion to get input from the sweater recipient on the design and possible colors. I just purchased a copy of Holli’s pattern. How can I get a blank working copy of this design?

    • Pam! You may already have received notification, but Holli has just updated the pattern to include COLORING PAGES!! (They’re so fun!)

  • Love this bomber and the creativity of your grands really inspired you to make this awesome, heritage sweater coat (as we call it in our family) extra special.

  • Absolutely fabulous.

  • Vicki!!!! Oh how I love you and your grandbabies and this fabulous knit!!! Bravo!!!

  • “Whimsy in the pockets!” It’s in the ether! I love it.

  • Looks lovely but the smallest size is chest 36” – much too large for my grandchildren.

    • I love the sweater for children and adults however, did I miss how you modified the pattern to fit a child?

      • Hi Sue & Suzanne, I measured my eldest grandson and made the smallest size (which isn’t going to fit him long, as you can see) with no modifications other than a little tweak to shorten the sleeve length a little.

  • Congratulations on a gorgeous heirloom! I love everything about it. The last seamed sweater I attempted took me 7 years to finish, so I’d sworn off knitting in pieces. This is making me seriously rethink that. Maybe I’m a better knitter now than I was then? Your sweater makes me want to be 🙂

  • Beautiful kids, beautiful sweater!

  • I love this idea for my grandkids, but as someone else asked, how did you modify the pattern for a kid size?

    • Hi Nancy, based on my eldest grandson’s measurements, I made the smallest size (which isn’t going to fit him long, as you can see) with no modifications other than a little tweak to shorten the sleeve length a little.

  • Ohhh. I wish I had seen this post before I started (and 3/4s of the way through) a zipper jacket for my grandson. This is fabulous. And I love knitting with Atlas, what a great choice!

  • Love, love your bomber jacket for your sweet grandkids and what a terrific idea to include them in the designing of it! It looks darling on all of them, even the wee one who will grow into it! ❤

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE! Getting input from a recipient is always a good idea, but a family of recipients! Party time!

  • It turned out fantastic. I loved how it all came together and your grandchildren could see how their design choices came together for the beautiful finished sweater.

  • Oh I love this so much!

  • Vicki, I read your blog for years but somehow lost track of it, so glad to find you again! Love the idea about coloring your design. My pre-school grandchild loves to color. You and Holli have got me thinking!

  • This is the most delightful thing ever!

  • What a great family project! It’s a beautiful sweater. Congratulations

  • I love everything about this project: that Holli Yeoh suggested the idea of the coloring pages, that the kids weighed in on the colors, and the wonderful bomber. But grandma, I think you will need to knit 4 and holding!

  • Truly one of the most fantastic projects I’ve ever seen. Practical, fun, great match of patttern and yarn, outstanding input from recipient(s), just perfect. I want to make one right away. It’s truly inspiring in all the right ways. Thank you for sharing!

  • May I borrow your grandkids for color input on upcoming projects? This sweater is wonderful.

  • This is an awesome and inspiring article. So looking forward to being a grandma. Thank you.

  • This is such a versatile pattern and so very special with your grands’ input! Thank you, Vicki! And congratulations!

  • This is THE BEST! I love the colouring sheets and how they inspired even more ideas directly from the children! And your knitting is so beautifully done — such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this story!

  • So cheerful, upbeat and useful. Just wonderful

  • Vicky, I had lost track of your blog, I used to check it out frequently–there were 2.5 grandchildren then. So glad you are still blogging. Thank you.

  • Awesome and very creative!

  • I am so lucky to be the little sister of such a talented and ambitious sister. Love you always Vick!! And the kids’ shoot is just perfect ♥️

  • Love absolutely everything about this project…kudos to a wise and loving grandma!

  • Congratulations and WOW! This is my new favorite example of collaboration on a knitting project. Just fabulous to give the kids your “crayon box” and turn them loose. And didn’t they come through! Beautiful, beautiful knit. And you’ve got some excellent models there, too 🙂

  • What a wonderful idea!!! I don’t have any grandkids yet, but when I do…………!! Or I’ll borrow some! thank you!!

  • Great sweater and your little people are even cuter!

  • Wow! This bomber sweater is fantastic!! I especially love how you asked your beautiful grandchildren to help you choose the colours!! They did a marvellous job of it. Lucky grandkids and lucky talented gramma!!

  • So who gets first dibs??? Looks darling on all of them!

  • Vicki!!! A great wave of “I knew her when!” washed over me when I saw this article. I enjoyed following the Bomber-build on the blog and on FB, but this elevates you to a higher stream! The sweater is perfect! Thanks for representing WI, too.❤️

  • The 5-Point Bomber has jumped the queue and is next in line now. I can’t stop thinking about what colors I will use. So creative and grateful to Holli for adding the sketches to the pattern. More fun in the days to come. Even without the colorful version I’m surprised this pattern wasn’t a huge Ravelry favorite. Well that has certainly changed! Thanks again Vicki for the heartfelt and inspiring post.

  • Lucky grandkids! Lucky grandma!

  • Vicki, watching you progress from beginning to end of this fabulous sweater project was so joyful and inspirational! I’m sure we’ll see a yearly montage of grandies wearing the sweater. You should have one to match theirs.

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